Following a pretty brutal injury whilst on holiday earlier this year, I have to admit I have been feeling a bit down in the dumps. Recovery took a lot longer than I anticipated and it was dificult to lift my gaze to see what the future might offer. Maybe it was not the most clever thing to do to give up my job….. but it has given me plenty of time to reflect over life in general and my life in particular.
Core values have been on my mind a lot. As a mother, but mostly as a person and an aspiring Buddhist I have been wondering how I can balance my needs and aspirations as a person with providing positive rings on the water for my surroundings. This ended up with a shortlist of interests and beliefs as follows.
- Dogs. I love dogs and get true satisfaction from being around dogs and that special feeling you get when you and your dog is in perfect sync and he/she seems to read your mind. As we don’t yet know what the future holds for us buying a dog is not an option. However, we have just have word that our landlord is happy for us to foster a puppy for a year for the #guidedogfortheblind. Our application went in today so fingers crossed they will accept us.
- Creativity. I am naturally a creative person and one of the signs that I am not feeling great is that I stop making things. So I need to find a job, employed or otherwise that feeds my creativity. I am thinking writing, speaking, eventplanning or product development, textile or otherwise.
- PIF, paying it forward. This is a concept that falls very well in line with my leaning towards Buddhism. To strive to smooth the path for others, if possible, whilst going about our daily life. Call me naive but surely this makes for a better world for my children and their children in turn, and so on. I want my actions to speak of my beliefs so how do I ”tune” my life to reflect this?
My thinking now is that I will hopefully have a puppy to look after in the near future. I will naturally come to love this dog, even knowing that it will not be mine for life. This puppy will remind me to live in the moment whilst knowing that long term I am doing someting great for another person who will later benefit from a better life because of ”my” puppy. I have done this before and even though Charlies life did not turn out the way it was planned, the fostering experience in itself was a fullfilling one.
I am very lucky that my love provides for us all and I do not have the pressure to earn a certain sum each month, but I still have the ”need” for a structure, more than looking after a puppy. The plan is to create handmade beautiful things, interior and garden decór, and sell on the web and markets giving me the opportunity to use the digital marketing skills I worked so hard over two years to get. It will be trial and error and small scale using recycled materials as far as I can. It will also be something I can still do even if I get a job outside the house, but they will of course have to let me bring the dog to work with me 🙂
In the face of a rapidly changing society where gadgets and technology exist that can do more things than we are able to cope with the above statement sums it all up. It is an old truth, but still valid. We learn by guessing how things go together and it is the process of learning, ie the guessing, that gives the knowledge meaning. What good is knowledge if you don´t use it but merely cram it in and store it?
The fact is of course that we need both. Without factual knowledge about how things work, I mean both technical inventions and historical events, how can we hope to create a better future? But as obvious as this may seem, we have created, or are allowing to continue, a world that premiers greed and inconsideration.
- Americans seem prepared to vote a chauvinistic buffoon for presidential candidate somehow making the leap of thought that if you have money you automatically have the integrity and diplomatic negotiator skills to run America. I dare not even think what damage he will do to the world L
- Year 2016 we still have people that starve, that lack access to clean water and sanitation and nations that passively accept or promotes social injustice based on a person’s gender or beliefs.
- Most of us are not living a life of integrity where you say, mean and actually act upon what you say is your moral compass.
Maybe I have too much time on my hands, maybe I read too many books, I don´t know but like so many others I have started to shake my head at the world. Specifically at how the world is described to us in popular media. Media consumed through lack of time in the everlasting quest for happiness through external stimulation and attention. We could try a society based on compassion and actual absolute regard for human life and integrity like:
- Causing harm to others is a bad thing, a pretty simple rule to remember.
- We don´t need half of what we have, decide what you need and go for a quality product that does not cause harm to people or nature at any stage in its lifecycle.
- Use less energy. It´s easy if you try.
- Premier people and companies that have embraced sustainability and circular economy.
I am not saying people should not be able to profit, merely that we should aim for that prosperity to come from ideas and enterprises that enhance humankind and the environment, equally, on a global scale.
I am guessing that we have not learned enough from history. I am guessing that we are only able to find a sustainable way forward by holding up our hands and admitting we have got it wrong. I am guessing the future I want for my children lie in a society based on compassion, empathy and sustainability. I am guessing that most people struggle to visualise a society not based on stock market reports, me to. I have learned though that I don´t like what I see. I have also learned that if I keep guessing and questioning I will understand more, and every guess based learn I tuck under my belt gets me closer to a better understanding of what my contribution can be in the big scheme of things.
This got a bit more serious than intended so I compensate with a picture of my cat.
The title is a quote from the very clever Edvin Lock.
Teaching people how to be happy has turned into big business and most of us are now at least vaguely familiar with concepts like mindfulness and positive thinking. Listening to yet another proclaimer of the “think yourself happy” School of thought today I felt my body respond with anger. Of course we all feel better with regular exercise and a positive outlook on life, but self-help advice need to be much more nuanced than offering affirmations and exercises of gratitude.
Prepare yourself for a rant…
I claim society has gone completely skew whiffy, or arse about face if you like it crude. Mental health is on the decline in Sweden, costing society, business and individuals concerned both hard cash and energy. The problem is not that they are unhappy. The solution is not to teach them how to think happy thoughts. The solution, ladies and gentlemen is far, far simpler.
Quit using profit/productivity as the one and only measure of success. Creating a system that makes people ill, and then telling them they can “think their way out of it” is just mean. We do not need more coping strategies to help us deal with society. We need a society that people do not need coping strategies to deal with.
We could change society. We could talk about integrity and empathy as core values in long term sustainability. We could say no to companies that profit from producing or promoting things that are unarguably bad for us as a race. We could share the workload better between us. We could, if we wanted to, create a society that promoted both physical and psychological wellbeing. If we wanted to…
I am talking about a revolution (like Tracy), like a whisper…